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School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering

CommuniCATE

Enhancing Communication in Aphasia Through Technology

Staff and Funding

Laptop showing onscreen avatar facePrincipal Investigator:  Celia Woolf (Division of Language and Communication Science - LCS) and Jane Marshall (LCS)
Co-Investigators: Stephanie Wilson (HCID), Madeline Cruice (LCS), Carol Stokes (Barts Health NHS Trust)
Researchers: Anna Caute and Katie Monnelly
Funder: The Barts Charity
Funding: £415,785
Dates: 1st July 2014 – 30th June 2017
Project Web-site: https://blogs.city.ac.uk/communicate/

Description

CommuniCATE is exploring the use of computer technologies in therapy for people with aphasia, a language impairment that affects approximately one third of people who survive a stroke. The project is working in partnership with speech and language therapists from Barts Health NHS Trust and with the Stroke Association.

There are 3 aspects to the CommuniCATE project:

  • Research into technology for therapy in aphasia: this is aiming to find out if using technology in therapy can improve language and communication in people with aphasia, and if there are wider benefits for social participation and quality of life. We have developed specific therapy programmes for reading, writing and conversation, many of which make novel use of familiar technologies, such as text to speech software. Experimental studies will investigate whether these therapies bring about significant changes for those involved and if those changes are maintained over time.
  • Online conversation service: this service is provided to people with aphasia, using Skype and FaceTime. This aims to reduce the social isolation that is experienced by many stroke survivors and enhance social participation.
  • Skill development in NHS clinicians. We are offering training in the techniques pioneered by the project and are working alongside clinical teams to transfer knowledge. Student placements and internships are also helping to train the next generation of speech and language therapists.